Nearly every travel path to Santorini requires a stop in Athens. While there are some international flights directly to Santorini airport from larger European cities such as London and Frankfurt during the summer, these are infrequent compared to the flights from Athens. In addition to the information on this page, there are many travel guides and web sites with extensive coverage of Santorini, such as www.santorini-island.biz.
Getting to and from Athens (ATH)
Air transportation to Athens International Airport (ATH) is available on a regularly scheduled basis through nearly all of the major international airlines and many discount and charter companies. We recommend arriving in Athens in the morning if possible to facilitate connections to Santorini. Participants arriving from non-EU countries electing to fly to Santorini Airport (JTR) from Athens will need to pass though customs and immigration at the first entry into the European Union, and customs again at ATH. Departures from Athens for the United States tend to be in the early morning or early afternoon. It is normally possible to arrange flight schedules so that overnight stays in Athens are not required when flying to and from Santorini.
Getting to Santorini (JTR) from Athens (ATH) by air
Air transport to Santorini from Athens takes less than an hour and is available multiple times per day. The Santorini airport (JTR) is about 10 km from the central town of Firá where the Nomikos Conference Centre is located, and transportation to Firá is normally by taxi, public bus, or hotel shuttle service. Airlines servicing Santorini from Athens include the award-winning independent carrier Aegean Airlines, along with the Greek flagship carrier Olympic Airways (recently taken over by Aegean). Flights take 40-50 minutes. Due to past service irregularities and the uncertainty with Olympic's business reorganization, we currently recommend flying Aegean Airlines. Aegean Airlines is a Star Alliance partner, and is known by the IATA two-letter code as A3.
For an amazing view of the island while landing, sit on the left side of the plane when going from Athens to Santorini.
Getting to Santorini (JTR) from Europe by air
Nonstop air transport to Santorini is available from many of the larger cities in Europe during the summer months. Flights through discount airlines as well as charter services are available. For specific information, please contact a local travel agent in your area, or web sites such as Kayak, Opodo, Travelocity, Expedia, and so forth.
Getting to Santorini from Athens by sea
Boats to Santorini leave from the Athenian port of Piraeus (TZE) located about an hour's drive away from the airport. There is public transportation from the airport and other parts of Athens to Piraeus. The train station in Piraeus is directly across the street from the port itself. Boat tickets can be arranged beforehand or purchased as late as the day of travel, but often the less expensive classes of travel fill up early. If you are flying in to Athens and want to take a ferry the same day, we strongly recommend arranging the sea tickets beforehand. If you are planning a few days' stay in Athens before going by ferry to Santorini, then it is possible to purchase tickets in Athens. Ferry ticket prices are controlled, so shopping between agents for price is not necessary, although some agents do not represent all carriers and not all agents willingly accept credit cards. Boat schedules are available on line through www.gtp.gr.
There are two broad classes of boats which serve the Aegean islands: traditional ferries, and high-speed ferries. The traditional boats are slower, have open decks, make more stops, and are less expensive. The high-speed ferries are faster, enclosed, and are more costly. Be sure to check the transit time in addition to the departure time for any boat you are considering, as some boats make many stops on the way to Santorini. There is only one seaport in Santorini (ATI). Slower boats can take 10 hours, and high-speed boats as little as 4 hours. Be certain to verify the route and schedule when booking. As of Summer 2013, passage on a high-speed boat from Piraeus to Santorini runs about 60 euros. Smoking is permitted on ferry boats, and non-smoking sections are available.
Upon arrival in the small port of Santorini you will be greeted by many hoteliers clamoring to make last-minute bookings, and taxi drivers looking for fares. Be aware that taxi prices vary considerably with negotiating skill. An inexpensive public bus to the center of Firá is available and meets most boats; tickets are purchased on the bus, and only in cash, for under 2 euros. Some hotels have pickup service from the port if you arrange the details beforehand; we recommend phoning from Athens to confirm. The drive up the caldera face to the town of Firá can be breathtaking; be sure your camera is handy!
Getting Around Firá/Firostefani
The town of Firá, where the conference is held, is continuous with the town of Firostefani. These towns are readily explored on foot, and many establishments are not accessible by any other means. Vehicles, even scooters, are not allowed on most of the pathways in the heart of the town.
Getting Around Santorini
The island of Santorini is small enough that it can be circumnavigated in a single day by motorized vehicle. There is frequent bus service from Firá to all of the other towns and beaches; the bus depot is near the center of town and the inexpensive tickets are purchased in cash on the bus. Cars, motorized scooters, and bicycles are readily available for hire, but you must have a motorcycle license to rent even the smallest of two-wheeled scooters. Filling stations are strategically placed around the island. The central taxi station is in Firá. Although it is technically possible to hail a cab, empty taxis typically do not circulate looking for fares, thus rides are best arranged by phone or by going to the main taxi stand in Firá. When calling for a cab, be prepared for a long and somewhat ill-defined delay before one arrives. Make sure that the taxi driver sets the meter when you enter the cab. Longer taxi rides should normally not exceed 20 euros.
Local travel agencies offer day trips to the nearby islands and especially the volcano and hot springs in the caldera. If you visit the volcano, be prepared to walk uphill for 20 minutes. You will need to bring a hat and sun cream as there is no shade whatsoever, along with sturdy shoes as the volcanic rock is sharp and can be hot. If you visit the hot springs, be aware that the high mineral content, especially sulfur, can discolor swimwear. In 2006, the volcano excursion had reports of jellyfish in the springs (and since then, that excursion stops elsewhere for a swim).
What Santorini Looks Like Right Now
We have put up a page of collected web cams of Santorini (when viewing, don't forget that Greece is on Eastern European Time, GMT+2 in the winter or GMT+3 in the summer). Some of these are more reliable than others, but as a collection, they form a nice view of the caldera from different points along the populated rim. If you find a webcam that is not listed on that page, please let us know!
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